Door handles are present on every door and we use them multiple times a day. It makes things easy and safe for all of us. But have you ever thought about how door handles work? I would bet no because these smallest of things do not grab our attention. The handle latch makes the opening and closing of the door smooth for everyone. So, let’s discuss it here today. Apart from the working of the door handle, you will get to know about the components of a door handle too.
1. What is a Handle Latch?
A handle latch is an instrument using which a door can be easily opened and closed. It also performs the function of locking the door. It keeps the door fastened. You will further see how door handles work in this article. (See What are Examples of Pulleys in Everyday Life?)
2. What are the Different Types of Door Handles?
The different types of door handles are explained below:
- Door knobs are one of the most popularly used door handles. They come in a spherical shape and are used to open latches by turning. They can be paired with locks when required.
- Lever on backplate handles is the type of handle that has a backplate. These traditional style handles can be supplied with a lever and backplate, with a lever and lock, or with just a thumb turn.
- The lever on the rose handles has a circular or square rose. They surround the point at which the handle gets connected to the door. It ensures the fixings are hidden to allow a finished look. They do not come with locks. This handle comes with a large variety of levers.
- Thumb turns are another type of door handle. They are commonly used in bathrooms and can be operated by moving the bolt in and out of the lock. They are a good option for privacy but aren’t suited for security purposes.
- D pull handles are the most common types of handles used for doors that do not require a lock and open inwards. They offer simple and easy use and often come in a variety of designs.
- Flush pull handles are commonly found in sliding doors. They are fitted onto the door to give a finished look. This also allows the door to slide into the cavity much more efficiently.
- Cabinet knobs are mainly door knobs. They are used to add finishing touches to cabinets or piece of furniture.
- Cabinet cup handles are commonly used for drawers and cabinets. They give a better grip on heavier furniture. They have a classic curved semi-circular shape.
3. What makes up a Door Handle?
Before we discuss how door handles work, let’s explain the components of a door handle. The main elements that make up a door handle are:
- Lever or knob
- Strike plate
- Door lock
- Latch mechanism
4. What are the Components of a Door Handle?
The main components of a door handle are discussed here:
- Knobs: A knob lets the user open and close the door with ease. It is present on the inside as well as outside. It contains a variety of locking devices of which the most common one is the pin tumbler cylinder that uses traditional keys to lock and unlock.
- Rosette: Rosette is the circular plate that is present behind a knob. It secures the internal mechanism of the knob and adds a decorative element as well. It is also known as a rose plate. It is present both on the inside as well as outside of the door.
- Lock cylinder: It is the locking mechanism used in door handles. The most common type of lock cylinder used is the pin tumbler lock cylinder which uses a key to lock and unlock the door. There are also other types of locks used that do not require keys.
- Latch assembly: It is an essential part of the door knob. It is a spring-loaded bolt.
- Spring bolt: The spring bolt utilizes the spring clip. It plays a major part in the opening and closing of the door.
- Strike plate: This is a thin metal plate that is installed into the doorframe. It reinforces the doorframe around the hole of the latch. It also guides the latch to the latch hole. It prevents the door frame from getting trashed by the bolt.
- Spindle: The spindle is a component of the door handle that passes through the center of the knob and connects both sides of the handle. When the door is opened, the spindle rotates and retracts the spring bolt which leads to the opening of the door.
- Deadlocking plunger: This is a secondary locking mechanism. This dead latch sits behind the primary spring bolt. It is a spring-loaded secondary bolt. This works properly only when the strike plate is installed correctly.
5. What is Lever in Door Handles?
As you have already known about the components of a door handle, let’s discuss the lever. The lever is a horizontal handle used to open and close the door. They come in two types, right-handed and left-handed. They are used appropriately according to the orientation of the door. They are very convenient to use and provide an easy grip. They can also be combined with locking mechanisms. (See How to Size a Rough Opening for Bifold Door?)
6. What is the Mechanism inside a Door Handle called?
To know how door handles work and about the mechanism inside a door handle, take a look below:
- Spindle: The spindle is the mechanism inside a door handle. It is present in the back set of handles or knobs. When the handle is used, the spindle is turned which leads to the opening of the door.
- Sprung: Sprung is a major mechanism present in a door handle. The door handle comes back to its original position after being released because of the spring.
- Unsprung: Some knobs take the help of a door-locking mechanism to return to position after being released. The unsprung is present in some older knobs and handles.
- Sprung On One Side: Some mortice knobs are sprung on one side only. It provides a compromise to the problems of both sides springing and no springing at all.
7. How does a Handle on a Door Work? How Door Handles Work?
The door-handles control the door through the manipulation of a latch. A latch connects the door with the frame and also embodies a sliding bolt installed in the door. The handle determines the position of the latch. This is how door handles work. A spindle and cylinder connect the latch to the handle of the door. When the handle is rotated, the sounder carries the action into the cylinder that turns clockwise and anti-clockwise depending on the orientation. This movement leads the attached bolt to be forced across the door’s internal face, which slides in and out of the frame’s latch receptacle. It leads to the opening or closing of the door. Check out How does a Sextant Work?
8. How do You Lock a Door Handle?
It is now understood how door handles work. So, let’s talk about how to lock a door handle. Since there are many types of door handles and different locking mechanisms, the locking of the door handle will depend upon the type of locking mechanism that it has. Every mechanism has a different way of locking and unlocking. Some common types of locking mechanisms are deadbolts, padlocks, cam locks, lever handle locks, knob locks, and many more.
9. How do Locking Door Handles Work?
Let’s talk about the most common type of door handle locking mechanism called the cylinder or lock body mechanism and how it works. This is the place where the key is inserted into the door handle for locking and unlocking. There are a series of spring-loaded pins that the cylinder engages in to keep the handle locked. When the key is inserted, the parts of the key push the pins upward to fit the key in the space. This leads to the opening of the cylinder, which allows the bolt to move and open the lock. Must see What are Machine Safeguarding Requirements?
10. How do You Fix a Door Latch that won’t Retract?
Since you are aware of how door handles work, now its time to note down some ways to fix a door latch that won’t retract:
- Use a hammer and hit the latch a few times to make it work. It should be done in a controlled motion to avoid destroying the door handle.
- Tighten the screws because loose screws can be a reason for latches not working properly.
- Adjust the spindle by rotating the thumb a couple of times to position it. Sometimes, it can get unaligned with the door latch which can cause the issue.
- Cleaning the door lock is a good option to consider when your door latch is not working properly. It can happen because there can be an accumulation of debris or dirt that can affect its working.
- Lubricating the door latch is a good option to make sure that there are not any blockages that are hindering its working.
If the above-mentioned fixes do not work for you, then it is a good option to replace the door lock because most probably the problem is with the internal mechanism of the lock. And with this, you must have gathered everything about how door handles work and their functions. (Also read What is Steel Fabrication Work?)